Image source: Master Sgt. Mark Bucher for the U.S. Air Force.

Over in Congress, they just passed a $1.15 trillion spending bill -- a bill that, among other things, preserves full funding for the U.S. Air Force's much-maligned A-10 Thunderbolt II "Warthog" fighter plane for one more year.

The Air Force isn't particularly happy about that part. (They'd actually much rather spend the Warthog money buying stealthy new F-35 fighter jets.) But there's a lot more in the bill that will make the generals happy, in the Air Force and elsewhere. Namely, more than $572 billion worth of defense spending on everything from:

  • The aforementioned F-35 fighters from Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), to...
  • New Navy nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines from General Dynamics (NYSE:GD), to...
  • Huntington Ingalls (NYSE:HII) -built National Security Cutters for the Coast Guard, to...
  • A special reprieve for Boeing (NYSE:BA) joint venture United Launch Alliance -- permitting it to buy Russian rocket engines for its spaceships.

In short, Santa brought a sack-load of gifts for the Pentagon and its favorite contractors this past December. But who are those contractors, exactly, who will share in the loot? Each of the four companies named above, obviously. But as detailed in a recent report from our good friends at BGA-Aeroweb, there are a whole lot more defense contractors where those came from.

Here, over the next few slides, we're going to tell you about them -- the Pentagon's top 10 defense contractors. The top 10 companies taking your tax dollars and turning them into shiny new tanks, fighter jets, and aircraft carriers for the nation's defense. Take a quick click-tour now, and don't forget to stick around for a chance to see our new report on one of the hottest stocks to buy on Wall Street today.

Following the Money: Here Are America's Top 10 Defense Contractors from The Motley Fool.